Panathlon is set to expand its programme of sporting activity for deaf children by adding cricket to its growing roster of sports.
The charity has formed a partnership with the England Cricket Association for the Deaf (ECAD) which will see schools for deaf and hearing-impaired children in Essex and East London enter into cricket competitions in the summer term.
To raise awareness and anticipation of this exciting opportunity, England deaf cricket international James Dixon has been holding Q&As with schools via Zoom during the Covid-19 lockdown, giving pupils the rare opportunity to engage with and be inspired by a deaf sporting role model.
The format of the summer’s cricket activities will depend on Covid-19 restrictions in place at the time:
If pupils are still in school but severe restrictions remain in place, the activity will be ‘virtual’ within individual schools, delivered by staff.
If permitted, James and other England deaf cricket coaches will visit schools and deliver coaching and competition internally.
If the virus has retreated sufficiently, there will be a multi-school cricket festival with eight schools competing in two pools of four.
The forthcoming addition of cricket expands our existing programme for deaf students which already includes swimming, boccia, ten-pin bowling, multi-sports and football.
Panathlon’s Chief Operating Officer, Tony Waymouth, commented: “We are delighted to be able to enhance our offer to deaf schools who engage with our wider deaf programme.
“Through the third UK lockdown it’s been great to have James Dixon (pictured below) and also England women’s rugby international Jodie Ounsley holding online Q&As with schools to give deaf pupils role models who share their disability and have reached the pinnacle of sporting achievement.
“When restrictions allow, we’re looking forward to giving deaf students a new platform to build their skills and scale their own sporting heights alongside their deaf peers.”
ECAD and Panathlon hope the partnership will allow both organisations to tap into a wider audience – particularly ethnically diverse communities – enabling more deaf children to experience inclusive sport, go on to pursue cricket in mainstream settings and even potentially unearth England international cricketers of the future.
Darren Talbot, Chief Executive Officer of ECAD, said: “We’re excited to be working with Panathlon to support the delivery of cricket in deaf schools and schools with HI units as well as delivering competitions.
“ECAD are hoping to spread the word on deaf cricket to a larger audience. Currently we don’t believe most parents are even aware of its existence.
“Our aims are to try to find a way to get the players involved in our deaf cricket pathway and to assist them in their cricketing journey within a mainstream “hearing” environment should they also choose to go down that route.”
Information on the forthcoming deaf cricket programme will be released after the Easter holidays. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to know more.